Someone new to survival preparedness – a newbie, newb or noob, is by definition someone who is inexperienced in the activity. While it is exciting to get going into a new area of interest, there will always be pitfalls to go along with it.
Here are a few that come to mind:
First let me say that ANY prepping is a good thing! So the rest of this opinion is not meant to be critical of that action. Instead lets shed some light on potential pitfalls while on your journey…
Prepping and/or preparedness will quite possibly become a life-long journey which evolves into a way-of-life offset from the mainstream. With that said, one pitfall is to rush in to it while trying to get too much done at once. Instead, it’s better to prioritize and realize that it’s a process. It will take some time. Relax, and enjoy the ride…
Buying survival gear and setting it on the shelf. While this gear must set somewhere, it’s a VERY good idea to try it out and use it (more than once). Survival preparedness involves skills, and skills are learned. Reading about it is a start, but putting it to practice is another thing entirely. It takes some time and commitment on your part. Use it.
Food rotation. An instinct (and rightfully so) for the newbie is to stock up on extra food. It’s an easy thing to do and is the most promoted aspect of preparedness. The mistakes though include a lack of proper food rotation. Not only should you (generally) buy what you eat and eat what you store, but you should actually consume it as part of an organized food rotation plan. First in, first out. This way the oldest is consumed first – minimizing eventual waste. FIFO.
No man is an island
You can do all that you can to survive by yourself via aspects of self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and security, but the actuality will be that you cannot do it alone. At first, yes, but in an extended SHTF, probably not. So with that said, and with all due operational security (OPSEC), you may wish to discover whether or not there are others nearby who are of the same general preparedness mindset.
Loose lips sink ships
Conversely to what I just said, it’s also a good idea to keep your mouth shut ;) Although you will be excited about getting into preparedness (it really is fun), unfortunately the mainstream has painted an ugly picture of us, and you’re typically better off not talking about it (except if you’re sure that the ‘other’ person is on-board). It’s a sad but true reality.
‘Think’ and make plans
Know what you are preparing for. Take the time to think through the various ‘what if’ scenarios that have brought you to this stage of newbie preparedness. Be specific and make a preparedness plan or plans. This will be different for many people based on their personal circumstances. Point being to get specific with yourself…
‘Bug-out’ is not what it’s cracked up to be…
Many newbies will gear up for the big ‘bug out’. While it may be reasonable to have a plan to bug out to a friend or family member who resides in a location better suited for SHTF than where you currently live, the problem is that many newbs won’t think it through initially and they figure they’ll just go hunker down ‘somewhere’ and ‘survive’. The thing is, that aint gonna happen… at least for long… ;)
Practicality and frugality
Buying things you don’t need. There are all sorts of ‘cool’ prepper things to buy. But you need to be practical about it. It’s so tempting to go overboard (or into debt) in order to get the ‘tactical’ this or that (or other buzzword whiz-bang things that seem really neat) which you don’t really need. Lots of times you can get by just as well with the lesser product than the expensive one (but not always ;) ). Just try to reign yourself in and think about purchases before you make them.
Newbies (and regulars!) often really overlook ‘WATER’ in their preparedness plans and activities. Don’t let normalcy bias bite you in the ass (as though water is always plentiful). Instead think hard about contingencies for what you would do if your tap water became contaminated or stopped altogether. Remember, about 3 days without any water, and most will end up ‘horizontal’. There’s storage, there are filters, there is knowing where alternative water sources are…
Lots of opinions
The internet is a big place. There are lots of survival preparedness websites – tons more than when I started this blog in January-2010. Everyone has an opinion. Some claim (or insinuate) that they’re the expert and their way is the right way. While sometimes that may be true, the thing is there’s always more than one way, and sometimes people are downright ‘wrong’ (we’re all human). Only YOU can tailor your own methods of preparedness. Read what others have to say, but also use your head and your own instincts when applying what you’ve read about.
There are more pitfalls to consider, but hopefully those which I’ve brainstormed above will help some of you newbies who happen upon this article. For those who have already progressed into preparedness, lets hear your additional thoughts on what newbies should watch out for…